The world is filled with people that either revolt or inspire others in their lives and line of work. Yet both disgust towards unwelcome ideas and the esteem on virtuous acts both provide a very sensible basis in reflecting in our own lives. In the same manner as both the recluse and the famous have something to contribute to society.
The story of a man bravely traveling into the incredibly harsh conditions of the Alaskan wilderness described and scrutinized by Jon Krakauer in his book “Into the Wild” has prompted attention to the otherwise uneventful death of Christopher McCandless. Though backtracking the protagonist’s uneasy journey into the unforgiving Alaskan grounds, the author has uncovered a person who had briskly escaped his own life and self imposed limitations for survival to find himself. When Christopher’s death had been publicized, many people have admired his courage in venturing out into the treacherous terrains alone. However some have criticized him for facing off with the elements needlessly unprepared. To some survival experts, his “odyssey” into the wilderness with little provisions can was an overt suicide. In any case, his story have provided a perfect example of an individual that chose to be away to be able to explore his self and possibly progress as a human being. However, his true thoughts whether he has accomplished his goal or not will remain a mystery, for his means came to defeat his purpose at the price of his life. This is totally contrasted by the persona of a famous artist named Boyd Rice who, in his lifetime have inspired and even influenced the underground scene of the music industry.
Having documented the life, works and obsessions of Boyd Rice for six years, Larry Wessel has effectively portrayed the existence of a man with the existence contradicting that of Christopher’s. A celebrity in and an artists in his own right, Boyd have traversed numerous media to express himself and crafted unique creations that have not only convey his vision but transgress social norms. The product of his endeavor is not hidden away from society it is featured as a very forceful representation of an idea in opposition with the majority. Evident in his lifestyle is how the unconventional survives out of the rigid and strict codes of what is acceptable. Like Christopher in his “Great Alaskan Odyssey”, Boyd’s life and works has come under attack by critics and conformists alike. Boyd is a man who has found and embraced his true identity under the scrutiny of the public eye. He is an example of a man who had found himself not in exile but rather out in the world.
Although very different in their approach, both Christopher and Boyd have one undeniable goal in their chosen undertaking and that is to find one’s self. Both also chose a path which were unconventional, Christopher by living and finally dying under dire conditions of a frozen wasteland while Boyd by supporting the subversive forms of art through numerous media and living an eccentric lifestyle.
Creakier, Jon. Into the Wild. New York . Anchor Books. 1997
Iconoclast. Dir. Larry Wessel. 2011